Can you tell us a bit about your role?
I lead our relationship managers so they can effectively and efficiently support the hundreds of organisations across the UK in the private, public and third sectors, who refer people to us for debt help and solutions.
What’s your background?
I've been involved in the world of debt advice for many years. I started my career working for Capital One managing their relationships in the money and debt advice community. It was here, managing customers and support teams working with 3PDMs (third party debt management), that I was introduced to StepChange Debt Charity and the invaluable work they do.
After this I spent three years at Payplan in relationship management roles dealing directly with creditors. I then had the chance to work for StepChange Debt Charity, an opportunity I was thrilled to take up. I head up the creditor facing relationship team and also the team who partner with organisations like National Debtline, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Local Government. As a reflection of the great work my teams do I’m proud to say I now have responsibility for relationships with some 670 external organisations.
How has StepChange Debt Charity Partnerships changed during your time here?
In the past we’ve been criticised that as a charity we weren’t vocal enough about the valuable service we can provide; being able to offer truly free debt advice to anyone in the UK. That’s why we re-branded in 2012, to have a stronger voice so we can help more people.
StepChange Partnerships is crucial to achieving this aim. We’ve grown to work directly with more than 670 organisations who refer thousands of clients a week to us for free, impartial debt advice.
With over 20 years’ experience we really do know debt. At the moment we help over 400,000 people a year, but we know we can do more. One of the key ways to achieve this is by being accessible and open to partner organisations across all sectors, no matter the size.
Why should a partner organisation work with StepChange Debt Charity?
I could tell you about the great work we do, our comprehensive online and offline debt help services, award winning specialist advice centres and unique online tools, including our industry leading Debt Remedy tool. But I’d rather let our partners tell you themselves.
Where would you like the Charity to be in five years?
Well sadly with the rising cost of living, pay freezes and increasing unemployment levels it’s likely that demand for debt advice will become more essential in the United Kingdom.
My hope is that in five years from now anyone in the UK struggling with debt knows about us, knows they're not alone and, more importantly, knows that they can access our help quickly and easily.
If you could give one piece of financial advice to your 18-year-old self what would it be?
I wouldn’t be embarrassed or afraid to talk about money or debt with those closest to me. Most people, no matter their salary or background, know what it’s like to have money problems. It’s stressful and worrying but there should be no shame in getting help. Debt can happen to anyone.
Ideally we want to create a society free from problem debt. But we can’t reach everyone on our own. We need the help of partner organisations across all sectors so we can achieve common goals and provide free debt help to anyone who needs it.